There is an abundance of “national” days. For example, January 9 is National Static Electricity Day. April 15 is National Glazed Spiral Ham Day, and July 16, National Personal Chef Day, is something I wish I had cause to celebrate but, alas, I do not. Today’s observance is pretty cool, though – it’s National Dictionary Day.
I’ve always loved dictionaries. Growing up, when I’d ask my mom the meaning of a word, she’d give the typical mom response of, “Go look it up.” My parents’ worn Webster’s Dictionary, with its illustrations and thin, yellowing pages, never failed to intrigue me. So, I was thrilled when my friends Mary Beth and Ruth gave me a dictionary for my high school graduation. I still keep it on my desk, although I must admit that I generally search for definitions online. It’s quicker, and language has evolved since the 1980s.
One definition that is new in our world has to do with my own name – Karen. For reasons passing my understanding, “Karen” has become the term for a woman who is entitled and demanding and who behaves in a generally shrewish manner. The other day in a Starbucks drive-thru I was given the wrong drink. Did I point out the mistake? No. Way. I wasn’t about to give credence to the stereotype.
Unfortunately, too often in my messy Christian walk, I have demonstrated impatience, irritation, and unkindness – and that’s putting it mildly. God could certainly look at me and think, “Karen Kuhlmann Averitt sure lives up to the 2020 definition of her name.”
But isn’t it great that God doesn’t define any of us according to our actions or natures? 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (NIV) The name Karen actually means “pure.” And that’s how God sees me – because of what Christ has done for me. As a result, the Creator of all things defines me, Karen, as His beloved child. That gift of love and grace is something to celebrate with thankfulness no matter what day it is!